Dr Patricia Hogwood, Reader in European Politics at the University of Westminster, has been interviewed live by BBC World News about German candidate Martin Schulz being confirmed as the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) challenging Angela Merkel in the upcoming general elections.

Regarding whether Social Democratic leader Martin Schulz can be a threat to Angela Merkel at the next German elections, Dr Patricia Hogwood said: “Schulz is a relatively new candidate in German domestic politics and he is trying to play it as an advantage. I think he is trying to present himself as a little bit of an outsider from the political establishment. However, he cannot meet Angela Merkel on the same ground. Last Friday, she was speaking to Donald Trump on behalf of Germany and the European Union, so he cannot meet her around that ground.”

She added: “There is not much to report on at the moment about Schulz’s elections campaign. We do not have a clear perspective of what he represents in domestic politics. He said he won’t issue his manifesto until June.”

Concluding, Dr Hogwood expressed general concern for the rise of the populist party Alternative for Germany (AFD) in the polls. “Everyone is concerned about the recent rise of the AFD. It is currently sitting at 11 per cent which is very high for a party of the far right.”

She added: “Martin Schulz will probably campaign on a platform that is slightly to the left of his personal preference, certainly in terms of the economy, in order to present more of a contrast to the AFD party.”

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